Reclaimed Wood Headboard

In keeping with this blog’s name, my hobbies tend to be more of the hodgepodge nature. When Max was deployed, I needed projects. I’m good with projects. They keep me busy, distracted, and surprisingly productive.

My favorite projects over the holidays was building. Max flew off to Afghanistan in September and left me a lengthy building list. One of those items was our guest room headboard.

A few weeks ago, I posted the reveal pictures for the guest room headboard and a reader reminded me that I never posted the design plans. Oops! Hodgepodge foul on my part! Many thanks to Shawn for pointing this out to me!

I found the guest room headboard plans on Ana White’s blog. Aka – my favorite and to-go website for all things building related. If you haven’t discovered it yet and you love to make your own furniture, I cordially invite you to explore Ana White’s blog. It’ll revolutionize your life. Seriously.

Ana calls this plan the reclaimed wood headboard. For ease of use, you can either click on the link or just keep reading.

Materials List

  • 2 – 1x2x8
  • 7 – 1x3x8
  • 4 – 1x4x10
  • 1 – 1x4x6
  • 2 – 1x6x8
  • 1 1/4 inch screws
  • 2 inch screws
  • 1 1/4 inch finish nails
  • 2 inch finish nails
  • wood glue
  • wood filler
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • paint

Cut List

  • 6 – 1×3 at 55 inches (fronts and backs of legs)
  • 2 – 1×2 at 55 inches (inside of legs)
  • 5 – 1×4 at 60 inches (panel pieces)
  • 3 – 1×6 at 60 inches (panel pieces)
  • 4 – 1×4 at 58 inches (panel trim, front and back)
  • 1 – 1×3 at 64 1/2 inches (top trim)

Word to the wise – cut as you go. Especially the panel trim boards and the top trim!


  1. Legs. Begin building the legs by fastening the 1×2 middle piece to the 1×3 front leg piece. To hide your screw holes, fasten for the 1×2 board into the back side of the 1×3 board. (This will essentially be hidden once you place the panel pieces and then nail/screw the remaining 1×3 board into the 1×2). Keep outside edges flush. For extra strength, use wood glue in addition to screwing the 1×2 to the 1×3.
  2. Panel Pieces. Starting from the top of the headboard, you’ll screw two 1x4s, then a 1×6, then a 1×4, then a 1×6, a 1×4, a 1×6 and a 1×4 into the back side of the 1×3. So basically you alternate the 1x4s and 1x6s, except at the top where you have two 1x4s. Use 1 1/4 inch screws in addition to glue. Check for square with both legs. Ensure that your panel pieces are flush with the 1×2. Hide your screw holes as you did in step 1 by screwing into the 1×3. In essence, you’re making what I call a panel sandwich with the legs and the panel pieces. 🙂
  3. Back of Legs. Use 2″ screws and glue to fasten the back of the legs in place and essentially complete the panel sandwich. Fasten to the panel pieces and the middle 1×2 piece. Keep outside edges flush.
  4. Trim Pieces. This is where I’d recommend measuring the distance between the 1x3s on the front and back. And then go cut your trim pieces. You’ll save yourself a trip to Lowe’s and a headache 🙂 You have to screw in the front trim pieces first in order to hide the screw holes. Using 1 1/4″ screws, screw through the back of the headboard to attach the front trim. The back trim will hide your screw holes. Then fasten the back trim in place using 2″ screws and glue.
  5. Legs Sides. Keeping the 1×3 edge flush with the back side of the headboard, fasten the outer leg pieces in place. Use 2″ nails and glue. This will give you a slight overhang on the front of the headboard.
  6. Top Trim. This is where I recommend measuring the width of your headboard and then cutting your top trim piece. The distance will be the overall width of the headboard at this step. (I opted to have a 1/2 inch overhang on the edges). Keeping the top trim flush with the outer leg pieces and the back of the headboard, use 2″ nails and glue to fasten in place.

Voila! Now you have a gorgeous rustic, reclaimed headboard!

photo 2

photo 3

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t recommend deviating from Ana’s plan, but in my mind, simply screwing the panel pieces into 1x3s didn’t seem sturdy enough. So I modified Step 2. Before screwing the panel pieces into the 1×3 legs, I screwed each of the pieces together via pocket holes. Using my kreg jig, I placed pocket holes every 8 inches along the backside of the panel pieces. I then had the entire center panel constructed and quite honestly, it really helped when I fastened it to the legs. All I had to check for was square and flush before gluing and screwing into place.

photo 1

Again, this extra step is completely optional; hundreds of Ana White followers have foregone putting pocket holes in the panel pieces and their headboards turned out just fine. I wanted additional sturdiness though. This headboard will have to survive military moves and let’s be honest, those guys aren’t gentle when they chuck your household goods into their trucks.

Once your headboard is complete, you can stain or paint it or leave it as raw wood (which I think would look awesome with a coat of poly – very rustic!). I chose to paint ours black to match a nightstand we already owned. I’m all about themes when I furnish different rooms. Cohesive, yet distinct themes.


Two coats of black latex paint and a coat of poly later, our humble headboard was complete.

This project is truly an afternoon job. If you’re looking for a beginner building plan to jumpstart your woodworking endeavors, this is the project for you!


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